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Grassroots Leadership Resources



Appreciative Inquiry for Collaborative Solutions by Robyn Stratton-Berkessel
A practical resource for facilitators who want to introduce positive, strength-based perspectives into their work and trainings. This book provides an overview of Appreciative Inquiry's positive psychology and strength-based change methods.


Building Powerful Community Organizations: A Personal Guide to Creating Groups that Can Solve Problems and Change the World by Michael Jacoby Brown
A practical guide to help build a successful community organization, with sample cases to illustrate each step. The book also discusses how to run engaging meetings, recruit and motivate community members, raise necessary funds, and turn a passion into a powerful tool for social change.


Community: The Structure of Belonging by Peter Block

Recommended by Maria Elena Letona

This inspiring new book is an exploration of the way community can emerge from fragmentation. It explores how communities are built, how transformation occurs and what each of us can do to contribute to building authentic communities.


Croissants vs. Bagels by Robbie Samuels
Written by B-Change guest, Robbie Samuels

If you feel anxious about networking, this book shares practical steps to help you feel empowered and strengthen your networking prowess. The book offers concrete examples of how to approach and engage people who are different from you in ways that will keep the conversation going.


Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness by Jon Cabot Zinn
A classic work by the founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society. His books and guided meditation programs have introduced meditation and mindfulness to thousands of people in simple language.


Growth Mindset by Carol Dweck
As compared to a “fixed mindset,” Dr. Dweck coined the term “growth mindset” to describe the behavior of the thousands of children she studied, some of whom rebounded quickly from a setback as opposed to others who were devastated. A growth mindset describes the underlying beliefs that although setbacks are bound to happen, growth in learning and intelligence is not only possible, but is the underlying belief of the youth and adults who take this approach.


Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long by David Rock

David Rock is the director of the Neuroleadership Institute, an organization that brings neuroscientists and leadership experts together to build a new science for leadership development. In Your Brain at Work, he explores issues such as: why our brains feel so taxed, and how to maximize our mental resources; why it's so hard to focus, and how to better manage distractions; and how to maximize your chance of finding insights that can solve seemingly insurmountable problems.


Leadership and the New Science by Meg Wheatley
Recommended by Maria Elena Letona
This bestselling guide to organizations and management describes how new scientific discoveries of chaos, order and cooperation can be applied to organizations.  The guide uses lessons from science to demonstrate how to live and work well together and build new forms of organizations in chaotic times.


Organizing for Social Change, Midwest Academy Manual for Activist

A comprehensive manual for grassroots organizers working for social, racial, environmental and economic justice at the local, state and national levels. The manual includes anecdotes about a wide variety of real organizations working on issues concerning labor, the environment, health care, racism, immigration, peace, religion, energy, public campaign financing and more. Whatever the progressive cause, this is the manual that can help guide organizers and ensure that they continue to reach their goals with efficiency and dignity.


Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques (2nd Edition) by Michael Michalko
Recommended by Joanne Brunn

Classic and fun exercises on getting the creative juices flowing and approaching problems in unconventional ways. Michael Michalko is one of the most highly acclaimed creative thinkers in the world.

Emergent Strategy by Adrienne Maree Brown

Recommended by Sheerine Alemzadeh
Emergent Strategy is an examination of where our movements have been and an offering of a framework for resistance that is rooted in the miracles of nature, decentralized, collective leadership, and personal, relational, organizational, and movement-wide transformation.


Trauma Stewardship by Laura Lipsky
Recommended by Sheerine Alemzadeh

A longtime trauma worker, Laura van Dernoot Lipsky offers a deep and empathetic survey of the often-unrecognized toll taken on those working to make the world a better place.  We may feel tired, cynical, or numb or like we can never do enough -- which individually and collectively, sap the energy and effectiveness we so desperately need if we are to have the impact we seek. In Trauma Stewardship, Lipsky offers a variety of simple and profound practices that will allow us to remake ourselves—and ultimately the world.


The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America's Leading Design Firm by Tom Kelley

Recommended by Joanne Brunn

Written by a partner at IDEO, an international design and consulting firm, this book highlights the importance of teams in the creative process, and how teams research and immerse themselves in every possible aspect of a new product or service, examining it from the perspective of clients, consumers, and other critical audiences.



Masters in Community Development and Practice, University of New Hampshire

The Community Development Policy and Practice program prepares working professionals to tackle complex community development issues by engaging with leading experts and academics in a program. Participants learn from seasoned practitioners in subjects ranging from economics and finance to organizational management and environmental factors in development.


Interaction Institute for Social Change

IISC builds collaborative capacity in individuals, organizations, and networks working for social justice and racial equity. Through training and consulting, IIC helps leaders learn and practice the skills and tools of collaboration so that they can design meetings, build and run organizations and networks with greater social impact.


Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning (UEP), Tufts University

Tufts UEP Masters of Arts program prepares a new generation of leaders – ‘practical visionaries’ – who will contribute to the development of inclusive and sustainable communities.  A nationally accredited urban planning program, UEP has a strong social justice focus, preparing students to engage and confront the social and environmental challenges in today’s world of rapid urbanization.


Whole Being Institute / Certificate in Positive Psychology

Whole Being Institute is an educational organization committed to spreading ideas and practices that can help individuals and groups live life to its fullest—spiritually, physically, intellectually, relationally, and emotionally. The Institute offers a certificate in Whole Being Positive Psychology and in Positive Psychology Coaching Certification.

Links to our guests

Neighbor to Neighbor
From our interview with Maria Elena Letona


Healing to Action

From our interview with Sheerine Alemzadeh

Penn Loh

On the Schmooz, Podcast with Robbie Samuels

From our interview with Robbie Samuels

Aaron Tanaka: Creating a just, regenerative and democratic society


Solidarity Philanthropy: Reparations, Democracy & Power


Boston Ujima Project 


Solidarity Economy Initiative

New Economy Coalition 

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